Covenant Kids, Taking the Sting Out of Shots

Posted Date: 4/14/2014

Covenant Kids, Taking the Sting Out of Shots

“That was fun!” says 9 year old Ty Hirschenberger. Not something you typically hear a kid having blood drawn say.

 Kids who visit the Covenant Laboratories can feel a little more relaxed thanks to Covenant Kids donors and a bee.

Throughout the year, donations are collected to support pediatric programs at Covenant HealthCare via the Covenant HealthCare Foundation and the Covenant Kids Fund.

Each year after the Covenant Kids Telethon in April, projects across the hospital having an impact on pediatric patients can ask to be considered to receive Covenant Kids funding. Covenant Laboratory Clinical Education Specialist, Jami Millon, BS, MLS(ASCP)CM, had the perfect project.

“When I first saw Buzzy Bee® I knew he’d be a wonderful addition to laboratory services. It’s intimidating for adults and kids to have blood drawn and immunizations administered; we don’t want anyone to be afraid,” says Millon.

Specially designed to be used as natural pain relief, Buzzy Bee® desensitizes the body’s nerves in order to dull sharp injection pains. Buzzy® is a small vibrating bee with unique ice pack wings. In the same way rubbing a bumped elbow or running water over a burn soothes, Buzzy® crowds out pain by sending stronger motion and temperature sensations to the nerves to override sharp, itching or burning.

The Covenant Kids fund distribution committee agreed it was a worthy project. Made up of physicians, donors and community members at large, the group approved the funding request allowing 19 of these unique bees into outpatient and inpatient Covenant Laboratory locations.

“It’s a fun way to engage the patient to take their mind off the poke,” says phlebotomist Emily Ittner. “And, he’s cute!” Kids like Ty are able to turn Buzzy® on. Then phlebotomists like Emily can focus the child’s attention to a series of “distraction cards”- I spy-like flashcards- to keep their minds stimulated in other ways during the poke.

For loyal viewers of ABC’s Shark Tank, Buzzy® might look familiar. The device was recently pitched to investors on the reality television show. For more information on Buzzy® visit

About Covenant Kids

Covenant Kids is a fund within the Covenant HealthCare Foundation committed to enhancing the care for all Covenant Kids, any Covenant patient under the age of 18, and their families. The fifth annual Covenant Kids Telethon will take place Saturday, April 19 from noon to 6pm at the Mid Michigan Children’s Museum (315 West Genesee Avenue) airing live on WNEM TV5. Presenters will showcase equipment and projects made possible via previous donations to Covenant Kids. In the past four years, Covenant Kids has fulfilled funding requests for many hospital needs that support pediatric patients. From purchasing whole body cooling systems for preemies with encephalopathy, to initial supplies for newly diagnosed pediatric diabetes patients, to a Ret Cam that helps to diagnose a condition that can lead to blindness in premature infants, donations to Covenant Kids have made significant changes in the lives of countless children from across the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond.

Covenant HealthCare provides the following specialized pediatric services:

  • Level III Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) offering the highest level of critical care for infants across northern Michigan
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • ACS Verified Level II Pediatric Trauma Center - one of only six in Michigan with a dedicated pediatric emergency center
  • Community-based urgent care through MedExpress
  • Extensive clinical programs for children (diabetes, rehabilitation, cardiology, and more)

For more information about Covenant Kids or to donate, visit

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